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Money discussions you should be having before you say “I DO.”

Many engaged couples avoid having serious discussions about money because they worry about stirring up conflict at a time that should be fun and memorable.

Setting yourself up for a successful marriage requires you to have an open and constructive dialogue about the many financial matters that can make or break a marriage right out the gate. Below are four impactful yet straightforward financial topics to start.

Will we combine or keep separate banking accounts after we are married?

To keep separate banking accounts or not is a big one for many. To avoid financial disagreements down the road, discuss whether you will merge your financial lives or keep them separate.

For example, some married couples decide to create joint accounts to cover shared or everyday expenses such as mortgage or leases, food, and utilities. Whereas they still might maintain a separate financial account(s) for various other personal reasons.

Do we have enough saved, in the event of an emergency?

Nobody wants to think about losing a job or experiencing a health-related situation where you may no longer be able to work or be employed. It happens, and if it does are you prepared enough financially to sustain while you work through it together?

Spouses need to know and understand if they will be living from a paycheck to paycheck, or whether there will be a reasonable reserve of funds they can draw upon if needed. A lot of newly married couples may realize increased financial obligations because of the other spouse’s debt.

No matter what your financial situation is, there are always ways to improve upon it. Even when you think you cannot. Consult with a financial advisor, as they can help you prioritize and reorganize financial obligations so that you can begin allocating money into a financial emergency fund from day 1. Ideally, I recommend having at least six months’ salary set aside that you can pull from if needed.

What will our combined annual income look like?

If you have agreed to maintain a combined income bank account to cover your household responsibilities, then knowing what each of you makes is imperative. How will you distinguish responsibilities if your soon to be spouse makes significantly more or less than you do? Does the 50/50 rule still apply and if not, how will you partition the responsibilities?

Having a conversation about your annual incomes should be first and foremost. Especially if you intend on purchasing a new home or are considering a move up in housing – following the big day.

Will we be a creditworthy couple after marriage?

It may seem brash to request a credit report from your future spouse. However, don’t be surprised if your future spouse’s three-digit score adversely affects any plans you may have had toward purchasing a new home, refinancing existing debt, and more.

If one spouse has a low credit score (typically below 600), it’s not the end of the world. However, it is the time to understand the underlying issues causing it and assess the validity of it all. By knowing each other’s creditworthiness, you can develop a plan of attack to pay down debt, remove any inaccurate errors you could uncover on the reports affecting your scores and more.

For the marriage to be happily ever after you are going to need honest and open communications about your finances – from the start. Need a little help getting the conversations going? Call us today to schedule a complimentary consult to learn about our LifePrint® Advantage. Our proprietary holistic planning process can help you and your future spouse understand emotional-based components that affect your financial mindset. With knowledge and understanding, you can work to achieve your ONE BEST LIFE now and happily ever after together!

Read Joshua Kadish’s THE STREET original commentary on the topic of marital finance in the “4 Money Talks You Have to Have Before the Wedding,” article written by Brian O’Connell, contributing author.

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